PREPARING FOR OLD MAN WINTER
Winter months can be the most gruelling season for your home. Inspecting your home on a regular basis and following good maintenance practices are the best ways to prolong the life of different components of your home, so that you can protect your investment.
If you do not feel comfortable performing some of the home maintenance tasks, hire a contractor for maintenance inspections and to do repairs…don’t ignore your maintenance items!
1.Water Penetration…During and after wet weather, check ceilings and surfaces around doors; the attic; ceiling areas below the kitchen and bathrooms; and don’t forget to check the basement and crawlspace for moisture or leakage.
2.Your heating system. A technician will inspect your furnace or heat pump to be sure that it can achieve its manufacturer-rated efficiency. The inspection also measures carbon-monoxide leakage. Don’t forget to clean or replace furnace air filters each month of the heating season.
3. Prevent ice dams. If your home had lots of icicles last winter -- or worse, ice dams, which can cause meltwater to back up and flow into your house, prevent potential damage this year. A home-energy auditor can identify and fix air leaks and inadequate insulation in your attic that can lead to ice dams
4. The roof…at the very least, scan it with binoculars. Look for damaged, loose or missing shingles that may leak during winter. If need be, hire a handyman to repair the damage. Check and repair breaks in the flashing seals around vent stacks and chimneys, too.
5. Windows and doors. If the gaps between siding and window or door frames are bigger than the width of a nickel, you need to reapply exterior caulk. Check the joints in window and door frames, too. Condensation in windows causes major damage and poses a health risk. Add weatherstripping as needed around doors.
6. Clean the gutters. If your gutters are full, water can back up against the house and damage roofing, siding and wood trim -- plus cause leaks and ice dams.
7. Divert water. Add extensions to downspouts so that water runs at least 3 to 4 feet away from the foundation.
8. Turn off exterior faucets. Undrained water in pipes can freeze, which will cause pipes to burst as the ice expands. Disconnect all garden hoses and drain the water in faucets. If you don’t have frost-proof faucets (homes more than ten to 15 years old typically do not), turn off the shut-off valve inside your home.
9. Test your sump pump. Slowly pour several gallons of water into the sump pit to see whether the pump turns on. You should do this every few months, but especially after a long dry season or before a rainy one.
10. Call a chimney sweep. Before you burn the Yule log, make sure your fireplace chimney and vents are clean and in good repair. That will prevent chimney fires and prevent carbon monoxide from creeping into your home